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26th March 2020, Brussels

EURATEX issues database for face masks

© EURATEX.

© EURATEX.

As the impact of the corona crisis grows, EURATEX, the European Apparel and Textiles Confederation, has created a database of offers and requests for material, capacity or support for the production of face masks, as well as other relevant information on the topic.

It is being updated on a daily basis and European companies are welcome to submit their own request/offer at https://euratex.eu/covid-19.

EURATEX is identifying options for increasing the availability of protective face masks in the EU, both by enhancing existing capacity and creating new manufacturing capacity, including support to textile value-chain companies adopting their production technologies.

Textile and apparel businesses around Europe are facing hard times, as nearly every other sector of the economy, the organisation says, but despite the difficulties, the textile industry is doing its part to cope with the preventive measures put in place by the national governments.

Specifically, the global COVID-19 emergency has created an unprecedent global demand for protective face masks. According to its modelling, the WHO estimates that each month there will be a request for 89 million medical masks. In the most affected regions, such as Lombardy in Italy, the monthly demand for certified masks – only for healthcare workers – has exceeded 10 million.

Under normal circumstances two main type of face protecting masks are put on the market:

  • PPE masks which protect people from outside agents. These roducts must be certified by laboratories*, as per the requirements of the PPE Regulation (typically harmonised standard EN 149) with level minimum FFP2 or better FFP3.
  • Medical masks which primarily protect patients from the wearer. Products must meet the requirements of the Medical Device Directive/Regulation (typically standard EN14683) by auto-certification and on testing

In the present circumstances, masks offering a general protection are used as well. These masks offer different degrees of protection, depending on which materials are used and how they are made. They are usually intended for use by the population and are not meant to be used by healthcare workers. Public authorities should communicate clearly on the difference between these masks, and their level of protection.

EURATEX is working with its membership and the European Commission to quickly identify solutions that are workable and increase the relative safety of European citizens.

*In the EU-27 there are 20 laboratories called “Notified Bodies” which are authorized to release PPE certifications for EN149. There are fewer laboratories able to do the testing necessary for EN 14683.

https://euratex.eu

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